Concerned about buying an electric car?
When I tell people I own an electric car, the most common questions are:
The range of the car
Time to fully charge the battery
There are a few others, but I will tackle theses items first …
How long does it take to fully charge the battery
First – electric cars are different from gas cars – in a gas car, you fill the tank, consume the tank, fill the tank – typically filling with 1/4 tank remaining – that’s not how I (nor others that I know) manage their electric cars
I always plug my car in when I get home – so I am only “filling” the portion of my battery for that day’s mileage – typically 10-80 miles/day. A typical 240v charger will charge at roughly 25 miles/hour – so the battery is replenished at the end of the day in ½ to 3 hours – basically while I’m eating dinner
There are extremes – my car has a 310 mile range, in the rare situation I would fully deplete the battery (I have never done this), and charge it back to 310 miles (I rarely charge beyond 80%, I’ll explain this in another blog) – with the 240v charger it will take ~12 hours to charge – still doable in those rare situations
What’s the range of the car?
The Tesla Model 3 (Long Range) can go 310 miles on a full charge (Chevy Bolt is ~240 miles) – but really, the effective range is less, no different than a gas car – no one ever (purposefully) drives a gas car until the tank is fully empty – you wouldn’t plan to wait to charge after 310 miles with the Tesla Model 3!!!
Range is affected by a number of factors (some of these affect a gas cars range as well): driving style, outside temperature, use of A/C or heating – overall, the range can exceed 310 miles (there is a person who achieved over 500 miles on a charge), and can be less (I’ll write a separate post on expected range changes based on the above factors)
Keep in mind, the concept of “range anxiety” really is no longer an issue (in my opinion) for the latest electric cars with over 200 miles of range – how often do you drive 200 miles in a single day (unless your going on a trip)?
What about range and long trips?
This really depends on the car – the Nissan Leaf I had, which on a good day might have an 80 mile range was simply not practical for long distance travel (current Leafs have 150 mile range)
Latest electric cars with a range of 200-300 miles can be awesome for road trips – I took my first road trip of ~900 miles with my Tesla, and it was completely awesome – I went 250+ miles before my first stop, and then would typically stop again every 150-200 miles. The fast chargers would take 15-30 minutes to charge – I purposely planned the trip and stops for meal times (when possible)
Won’t it be super expensive to replace the battery?
When I hear this question, there seems to be an implication that a car should last forever – why should a Electric Car last forever? How many gas cars have you owned for more than 100k miles, or maybe 200k miles?
So for this one, I need to highlight the battery technology of Tesla is definitely the best (and I can say there are many critics of Nissan’s battery tech, myself included) – this was a big reason I bought a Tesla – typical battery degradation being reported for Tesla’s at 100k miles is in the range of 5-10% – definitely (in my opinion) not a big deal – and there are Tesla’s with over 200k miles (just google it)
Cost of the car
There are now many electric car options at different price points available – to me, the most exciting will be the $35k Tesla Model 3 (not yet available) – but I expect will be available sometime later this year
Here’s a good list of Electric Cars available (in the US): https://cleantechnica.com/2018/01/07/electric-vehicles-for-sale-usa/, there are multiple options available for under $30k
You can get a great deal on a used electric car (I will write a separate blog on things to consider before buying a used electric car)
Keep in mind the various cost savings/and other benefits (see my post http://www.hot-rod.co/hotrod/why-buy-an-electric-car-its-way-more-than-gas-savings) – as it’s not apples to apples when comparing an electric car cost to a gas car
Available car options
The simple answer is that the options are still limited – particularly for SUVs. The Tesla Model X SUV is one of the most awesome cars, but it simply is not affordable for most people – the Tesla Model Y SUV should be available in 2020, and others will come as well
For a traditional sedan – the Tesla Model 3 is awesome (and there are other options, see link above), and for subcompacts, there are many options
Will Tesla be around?
This one largely applies to Tesla
Some key facts:
Tesla has now had 2 quarters of profitability, and is producing cash – so they are currently self-sustaining, and need to outside investments to keep the company going
The Tesla Model 3 has achievements that are unheard of for a new car, in its first full year of production:
Best selling entry level luxury car in the US
Best selling car (of any kind) in the US (based on sales, not units)
Ranked #1 most satisfying car by Consumer Reports (of any car!!!)
Tesla is being fawned over by the Chinese government – the largest market for electric cars (a new factory is already underway, and will start production this year)
The above are the big ones I’ve heard – do you have concerns with owning an electric car that I did not mention above (or comments about the ones I did mention)?